Wednesday, March 4, 2015

February in Seattle, A Record Breaker

February in Seattle, A Record Breaker

February started out the first week looking like it would be different from the record setting December and actually feel like Winter in Seattle, we had several days of rain but it was the warm variety, the Pineapple Express which is tropical moisture all the way from Hawaii flowing up the Western Seaboard. 
Our Son In Law had to take a 10 day business trip to India for Google so that meant we would be doing a little extra Grandparent duty while the Dad was out. You can try but you cant replace a dad hence drinking a really good wine.

We broke open the Mona Lisa, from the San Juan Island winery, with the Mom to celebrate making the first full week as surrogate Dads.

The Seahawks 2014-15 Season will continue to be Celebrated in Seattle till Football Season re-starts

I have been admiring the little 12' Pelican Sailboat at CWB so I decided the next time I had a chance I would take one out.

So I did. The best way to understand these cool boats is to read these two articles:  and
The epicenter of San Francisco Pelican activity in the Pacific Northwest is a small white house on Samish Island, not far from Mount Vernon, Washington. For forty years, Fred and Don Smith were the premier builders of the Bill Short-designed 12-foot wooden lug-rigged dinghy. Don died a few years ago and Fred, who’s about to turn 80, sold the original jig to a boatbuilder named Owen Huffaker, but he’s still the local historian, construction expert and all-around guru to San Francisco PelicanViking Fleet III, based primarily in Puget Sound and Oregon.

The incredible Sunny February weather brought unusual life to the Center for Wooden Boats and Lake Union at this time of year. In the Top photo you see the Livery Manager Elena in the rowboat instructing How To to some renters.
Kristin, the director for the Sail Now Program, invited all the volunteer instructors to attend a meeting. 24+ instructors showed up and I was amazed to see so many there. I asked her how many instructors there were and she said she had 70 on the list but just 40 were active. That is pretty incredible to me!
Container Ships are stacking up everywhere as the Longshoreman are staging Work slow downs and the Shipping companies just shutting it all down as they jockey for negotiation power at the table. They had to call in all the kings men to get it settled.

How is your community doing with Recycling?

In Seattle everything is recycled leaving very little to go into the traditional Garbage bins. 

I mean everything
They left a lot of the Christmas lights up during February, maybe because it was so warm at nigh and so many people were out later enjoying the evenings as well. Flowers began blooming the second week of  February, Nice Sunsets almost the entire last three weeks. And a perfect time to find the Perfect IPA Boundary Bay from Bellingham

Valentines Day

Steve & Lynn

We went to Texas to get out Annual Physicals and visit Family, The top was my reward for fasting, the bottom was a unusual opportunity to have dinner with our Sons Family and two granddaughters at Frank's Hot dogs in Downtown Austin.

I missed the < $2.00 gas but I still got it cheap
Always good to be back on the boat.

I ordered several boat parts and had them already to go. The top pics are just a little experiment with a type of Boom Brake I have read about. Still need to work on the idea a bit but I like haw this worked, just have to test it under sail and then come up up with a heavy duty version. third pic is the SeaPower unit re-installed and a little grill work to celebrate getting it all done!

I went over to "G" Dock to talk to a sailing friend and ended up Meeting John Crabb who built this boat himself. He started in 1992 and is almost ready to sail away, first Stop Guatemala

He Modeled the boat after Joshua Slocum's " Spray"

Joshua Slocum (February 20, 1844 – on or shortly after November 14, 1909) was the first man to sail single-handedly around the world. He was a Nova Scotian born, naturalised American seaman and adventurer, and a noted writer. In 1900 he wrote a book about his journey Sailing Alone Around the World, which became an international best-seller. He disappeared in November 1909 while aboard his boat, the Spray.

In 1892, a friend, Captain Eben Pierce, offered Slocum a ship that "wants some repairs". Slocum went to Fairhaven, Massachusetts to find that the "ship" was a rotting old oyster sloop named Spray, propped-up in a field. Despite the major overhaul of the ship, Slocum kept her name Spray, noting, "Now, it is a law in Lloyd's that the Jane repaired all out of the old until she is entirely new is still the Jane."
Its days as a fishing boat, probably as a Chesapeake Bay oysterman, had come to an end by 1885, and it was a derelict, a slowly deteriorating hulk sitting in a makeshift ship's-cradle in a seaside meadow on Poverty Point in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, when Captain Eben Pierce of that town offered it to Joshua Slocum as a gift. Slocum came to Fairhaven to look at the Spray (sorry sight that it was), and he undertook to repair and refit it over the next thirteen months.
In Port Angosto, Strait of Magellan, the Spray was re-rigged as a yawl by adding a jigger

John Crabb told me that this is not an exact replica of "Spray" but the Hull is. After all this Spray has Solar Panels, a Wind Generator, and Radar along with Twin 20 HP outboards for auxiliary power.

John Crabb himself!

A picture of Lady heron under Sail in Corpus Christi Bay

My last Day in corpus the wind was already howling when I woke up, I was hoping to go sailing for a few hut but with wind gust up to 45 mph I was just not up to the risk of single handing.  I walked out to the bulkhead to watch one sailboat coming in through the Gap, it had about 25% jib out and it was rocking pretty crazy see:
So I found other things to do.

When we returned to Seattle we heard lots of commotion on the street across from our condo building. It was the Chinese New Years "Year if the Sheep" Celebration going on at our local Asian restaurant. see

One Misty evening but perfect for Grilling and trying out yet another PNW brew. The Longshoreman are back at work the last week of the month and this is the first container ship I have seen in the last 6 months escorted by tugs directly to the port. All of the ones previous had to Anchor out and wait week or longer for a spot in the port. The Trees are convinced it is Spring and this last week of Feb they are blooming strong.

First Trip to the Zoo with Big D, he loved the 4 baby Lion Cubs, and for some reason all four of these kids, Big D with the Red Head, liked the little man made creek coming out of the Orangutan House.

With Big D getting ready to start a pre-School We are begining to think about our return to Texas. I resigned my membership at Windworks Sailing Club but still had 1 more thing to check off the list first. I wanted to Sail to Elliot Bay and with good luck I had the winds, tides and my sailing buddy David with me. We made it all the to the Bell Harbor Marina entrance before tacking and Beating back to Shillshole in 20-25 kt winds
Just wanted to know what it felt like to sail along Downtown Seattle!

We started out just after 10:00 and returned just after 1500. We had a really nice downwind run to Elliot Bay and a Romping Beat back. As we neared Shillshole there was now an Ebb tide and with the opposing North winds we got to see how this 22' Capri managed in 4'-5' short chop and an occasional 6 footer due to  the roaring tides coming out of the Washington Ship Channel on the south end of Shillshole.

Entering Elliot Bay on the Little Capri 22

I called my daughter Lia to take some pics of us as we made our way South.

It's amazing how big this water is!

We traveled 24 Km round trip. 

Populuxe Brewery, this is on the TODO list. One of my sailing students told me about it and said it is a must do for any Seattle Beer Drinker.

Unfortunately they were closed, be back Later!

With more days than not just like this pic, February set a record for the warmest and driest on the books.

When is the Best time to be in Seattle? Right Now! Holy Cow who would have guessed we would get to experience the best February ever in Seattle? I think some here even feel a little guilty about it especially when seeing the weather conditions on the news around the rest of the US. Our quick 7 day trip to Texas was met by a cold front down there, thankfully it was just a 3 day thing and by the time I got to Corpus my last three days were near 70 degrees and Sunny. I had a perfect Boat visit as for as the Vessel is concerned since I got all my maintenance and planned boat projects done. Winds to strong for me to venture out in the Bay alone but I got to bring back a great Story about the Sailing Vessel "Lady Heron" a home built boat modeled after Joshua Slocum's Spray. Joshua was the first Single Hander to circumnavigate the planet a long time ago, His story is famous  I just ordered the book I am so inspired by John Crabb who I just happened to run into as I was walking "G" dock and took a bit of this busy mans time to tell me a bit about his story. He was in the middle of fishing electrical wires through his self built Arch where he was mounting his Solar panels, Radar, and Wind Generator. I volunteered to help him fish a wire through so he went down below and pretty soon I was able to grab ahold of the wire and pull it through the hole for him. That won me some time to chat about his boat and his plans. The boat is almost ready to go, he and his wife plan to go in the next couple of months starting out with a Gulf of Mexico Crossing into the Caribbean to Guatemala. From there they will decide if they want to continue South or to go through the Panama canal and head  South or North.
What is truly amazing about this story is I read somewhere that somewhere south of 20% of the people who start to build their own boat actually finish it, not sure how many of those actually take off crossing Oceans. I am sure the percentage is somewhere around 1-2%.
Back in Seattle we are starting to think about our Transition back to Texas. We plan to stay here till our incredible grandson makes his transition to pre-school. We are committed to making this a smooth transition for him. We are working with his parents to assist in finding the best daycare possible but it is not a simple thing in a city like Seattle that is experiencing incredible growth taxing all the schools in the city. There are thirty something couples everywhere, I guess that is why there are babies every direction you look here.
In anticipation of coming back to Texas I felt it was time to end my membership at Windworks Sailing club. This was one of the best things I have done for sure and it made a great fit for me. I just wanted to take one last sail to Elliot Bay, I had tried once before but the winds and tide were against me so I did not make it the short 12 miles into the Bay that day. But I had strong North winds and a flood tide so I called up my sailing Buddy David and all the pieces fell in line. Had a terrific sail into the Bay and a romping beat back to Shillshole as the winds built to 20+, We reefed the mainsail and I was amazed how the little 22' boat did in the 3-4  foot short chop. As we neared Shillshole the 3-4 built to 4-5 with some 6' waves due to the now Ebbing tide which is due to the water rushing from the Ballard Locke's.  Currents very strong near the Washington Ship Channel since it is emptying water all the way up the channel to the Ballard Locks + the regular current from the rivers that empty into the watershed there.

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